LNP moves to repair Labor’s broken Youth Crime Laws

The LNP has today released details of its plan to force the Palaszczuk Labor Government to start taking real action and start repairing youth crime laws in Queensland.

Following extensive consultation with victims, police, advocate groups, and Queenslanders the LNP has today revealed three actions it will take to Parliament this week.

The LNP is calling time on the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s weak laws after the government watered down the Youth Justice Act eight years go.

The three actions are designed to start implementing the change Queenslanders are urgently calling for ahead of further long-term reforms.

The LNP will:

  1. EMBED CONSEQUENCES FOR ACTIONS: ensure consequences for actions by introducing Breach of Bail as an offence for young offenders in The Bail Act.
  2. UNSHACKLE THE JUDICIARY: unshackle the judiciary, whose hands have been tied since Labor watered down the laws, by removing the provision of detention as a last resort for young offenders. 
  3. START DELIVERING GOLD STANDARD EARLY INTERVENTION: request an immediate and independent investigation by the Auditor-General into early intervention programs that are funded by the Palaszczuk Labor Government to analyse the benefits or failings of each program and identify future opportunities to break the cycle of young offenders. In particular the current and prospective use of publicly available Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should be examined.

Leader of the Opposition David Crisafulli said in the absence of any legislation from the State Government ahead of this week’s Parliamentary sitting, these changes were sensible additions to begin the journey towards community safety.

“The first priority of any government is to ensure the safety of its citizens,” Mr Crisafulli said.

“Enough is enough, we are calling time on Labor’s watered-down laws.  The LNP will repair Labor’s youth crime laws and start protecting Queenslanders again.

“We are on the side of Queenslanders.

“My team and I have listened to people right across the state and every single one of them wants to see change.  These are the first steps to delivering that change.

“Queenslanders deserve better than to feel like a prisoner in their own homes and be worried that they’re not safe out in their own communities.

“We must act in the here and now to stop those repeat, hardcore young offenders in their tracks and that means acting swiftly.

“We will ensure consequences for actions for hardcore youth offenders by introducing Breach of Bail as an offence and empower police to keep our communities safe.

“We will unshackle the judiciary, whose hands have been tied by the Palaszczuk Government’s weak laws, and allow them to detain youth offenders who must be taken off our streets. They will retain the option to direct offenders to early intervention programs when appropriate but they must be freed to make the right decision for the right circumstances. 

“We need to unshackle the judiciary to do their job effectively.

“The Premier has said Magistrates need to do their job; well it is time we let them do it with laws that help not hinder.

“We also believe we must start repairing Queensland’s long-term future which is at risk of being swamped by even more young repeat offenders causing chaos in our communities.

“That is why we must reform early intervention programs in Queensland. 

“The details of the Palaszczuk Government’s current programs are shrouded in mystery – we will bring them into the light.

“We believe that starts with an immediate investigation by the Auditor-General into early intervention programs funded by the Palaszczuk Government to analyse the benefits or failings of each program and future opportunities to break the cycle of young offenders.

“We want an Auditor-General’s report so Queenslanders can see what has failed and what is working to start curbing youth crime.

“We must start assessing these programs now to reform children who are falling through the cracks.

“In particular, we believe the current and prospective use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) must be examined. To put it simply, government programs cannot be easily assessed and improved if they are not measured. 

“We must act here and now while also stemming the growth of youth crime into the future. That is the core of what we are putting on the table. 

“We have listened to Queenslanders who want to see change and we believe these are the first steps we must take together. We hope the Palaszczuk Government is willing to listen to those Queenslanders as well. That is why we will be moving amendments through Parliament.

“The LNP will continue to listen to Queenslanders and build a full youth crime framework ahead of the next election.”  

Deputy Leader of the Opposition Jarrod Bleijie said repairing Labor’s broken laws was vital to keeping Queenslanders safe.

“Queenslanders know the LNP has a far stronger track record dealing with youth crime and criminals than Labor,” Mr Bleijie said.

“Under Labor the number of young offenders in Queensland has increased every year above the 2015 levels they inherited. They are losing control. 

“The number of serious repeat offenders has also risen only in the last few months from 10% to 17%. That is Labor’s legacy on youth crime.

“Under the LNP, the number of young offenders in Queensland fell every year.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government made the decision to water down youth crime laws when it first came to office eight years ago, and we are all living with that decision now and Queenslanders are suffering those consequences.”

Shadow Assistant Minister for Justice Laura Gerber said Queenslanders were losing faith in the Palaszczuk Labor Government to keep them safe.

“The Youth Crime epidemic is the result of failed legislation and leadership,” Mrs Gerber said.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government watered down the laws eight years ago and has raised a generation of young offenders who know their rights outweigh the rights of victims.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government are failing to listen to the community and have refused to acknowledge how serious the situation has become because they won’t admit they are responsible for the Youth Crime epidemic. Queenslanders know the truth.

“The fact Premier Palaszczuk refused to even go to Toowoomba for her own youth crime forum; has been caught out not consulting on her own laws; and has still not released her legislation for scrutiny sends a clear message to Queenslanders; even Labor don’t back their laws.

“That is why it has fallen to David Crisafulli and the LNP team to lead Queenslanders out of the Youth Crime epidemic.”

The LNP will move to amend the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s legislation in Parliament this week.